June 14, 2013
RBC awards $2.3 million in funding to protect water in cities and towns around the globe
TORONTO-RBC today announced the recipients of the 2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grants, totalling more than $2.3 million in funding for water protection and preservation programs. Awarded on the fourth annual RBC Blue Water Day, the grants support 123 organizations spanning seven countries, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Jamaica and Turks and Caicos Islands.
“Water is the lifeblood of our planet and vital for our social and economic wellbeing,” said Gord Nixon, president and CEO, RBC. “Since the RBC Blue Water Project was established in 2007, we have committed more than $38 million in grants to some 650 organizations around the world working to protect our most precious natural resource, including the grants we’re announcing today. We are honoured to support the important efforts of this year’s grant recipients, whose projects reflect our new focus on urban water issues.”
In December 2012, the RBC Blue Water Project announced a shift in focus to address a significant, emerging issue that is relevant to the majority of RBC employees and clients – protecting and preserving water in towns, cities and urbanized areas. The 2013-2014 Leadership and Community Action Grants are funding programs that improve urban water quality and efficient use, enhance storm water management and protect and restore urban waterways.
“By 2050, three quarters of the world’s population will live in cities,” explained Alexandra Cousteau, RBC Blue Water Project Ambassador and National Geographic Emerging Explorer. “With more people, our urban water resources will become even more strained than they are today. The 2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grant recipients are working to solve some of the most critical water issues facing our growing communities and helping to ensure we have the clean water we need for the future.”
2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grants Note: Financial references throughout are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise indicated.
NATIONAL – CANADA
— Alliance for Water Efficiency: A $60,000 grant will help the Canadian Plumber Water Sustainability Training Pilot Project offer training to plumbers in major Canadian markets. Plumbers can help improve water efficiency in homes and businesses, but their influence is often neglected. This pilot project aims to equip plumbers to take a more active role in water management.
— Green Communities Foundation: A grant of $50,000 will help the foundation remove unnecessary paving and replace it with greenspace, which acts as a filter and sponge for polluted stormwater runoff. Program partners will receive hands-on training with a depaving expert then return to their communities to depave high profile sites.
— Northern Environmental Action Team: A $50,000 grant will help provide practical storm and melt water management recommendations to northern communities. This project will also recommend improvements to northern building codes to encourage the installation of green infrastructure.
— Tides Canada Foundation: A $40,000 grant will enable a series of water leader workshops to encourage collaboration around urban water issues, while bridging the gap between community-based and larger scale water efforts. As a result of the workshops, Tides Canada will produce a research paper to weave together the best practices determined by the water leaders.
— Safe Drinking Water Foundation: A grant of $10,430 will provide Safe Drinking Water Foundation Education Kits to teachers located in urban centres across Canada. Due to budget cuts, more than 2,900 teachers are waiting for education kits to be sent to their schools.
— Capital Regional District: A $75,000 grant will inform and engage residents, youth and businesses about urban water quality, watershed health and climate change issues through workshops, focus groups and social media.
— City of Vancouver: A $50,000 grant will help the city evaluate the role of rain barrels in reducing stormwater flow by installing rainbarrels in two Vancouver communities and monitoring the amount of rainwater collected and used.
— Regional District Okanagan Similkameen: A $15,000 grant will help this program educate more residents in communities with serious water issues through water conservation workshops and events. Residents who have already used the program showed a reduction in irrigation use, increased mulch use and more low flow fixtures/appliances changeovers.
— Local organizations: $80,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by fifteen local organizations:
— Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology: A $50,000 grant will support a unique water education program (Youth Wavemakers) that informs, educates and celebrates the impact youth have on local and global water issues.
— City of Camrose: A $50,000 grant will help the city develop a water conservation program, including a public awareness and education campaign.
— Green Calgary: A $45,000 grant will support an education program about community water quality and supply issues, including water conservation, rain harvesting to reduce storm water run-off and decreasing the use of potable water for landscaping and toilet flushing.
— Helen Schuler Nature Centre (City of Lethbridge): A $40,000 grant will help fund renovations to the Nature Centre. The expansion will feature displays on rainwater harvesting, and show how permeable surfaces enable storm water absorption.
— Local organizations: $50,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by seven local organizations:
— Meewasin Valley Authority: A $30,000 grant will enable the Nature by Design Project to showcase innovative design and conservation efforts to protect the northeast swale in Saskatoon. The project includes restoration work, an awareness-raising campaign and innovative design highlights such as low-impact stormwater management and recreational facilities.
— Local organizations: $13,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by the Regina Catholic School Division and the City of Moose Jaw
— International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD): A grant of $50,000 will help advance an innovative project to capture phosphorus and prevent it from entering urban waterways. IISD will collaborate with key partners to harvest cattail and other plant species at numerous sites in Winnipeg. IISD will then compress the harvested plant material into a form that can be burned to produce bioenergy.
— Lake Winnipeg Foundation: A grant of $30,000 will support an action plan to reduce the amount of phosphorus released into Lake Winnipeg. The project will include collaboration with municipalities and educational outreach in six cities across the Lake Winnipeg basin.
— Local organizations: $33,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by four local organizations:
— Ottawa Riverkeeper: A $100,000 grant will support the creation of a web-based map that tracks the frequency and size of sewage spills, a common occurrence in the Ottawa River. The project will increase the frequency of water testing at beaches and popular recreation areas and will report the results using the Waterkeeper Swim Guide.
— Trout Unlimited Canada: A $100,000 grant will help improve water quality in the Bronte Creek Watershed through community engagement. Project leaders will work with community stakeholders to link residents to their water resources, and provide advice to residents wishing to undertake small restoration projects at home.
— Toronto Zoo: A grant of $50,000 will help the Great Lakes Program teach participants about at-risk aquatic species and how conservation is linked to the health of the Great Lakes. The program is free, interactive and curriculum-based. New initiatives for 2013 include expanding the program into new regions and rehabilitating the fishway in the Morningside Tributary on Toronto Zoo property.
— Earth Rangers Foundation: A $40,000 grant will enable further greening of the Earth Rangers Centre (ERC) in Woodbridge, Canada’s highest rated LEED platinum building. The grant will be used to install additional meters to the existing system to allow better monitoring of green roofs, white roofs, rain water capture and reuse systems, storm water mitigation strategies and the waste water treatment plant.
— Long Point Region Conservation Authority: A $40,000 grant will support the installation of low-impact development demonstration sites (LID) to prove their feasibility and effectiveness. The LID sites will be a model on how to create green space, reuse water and incorporate stormwater controls into new or existing developments.
— Nickel District Conservation Authority: A $35,000 grant will support the development of low impact development (LID) demonstration sites to manage stormwater in commercial areas in the Ramsey Lake watershed. Stormwater is a key contributor to water quality issues and LID technologies, combined with re-vegetation and reforestation efforts, will decrease these pollutant levels.
— The Town of Fort Erie: A $35,000 grant will help the town develop a water quality monitoring program. The town has 33 municipal drains, which drain approximately two-thirds of the town’s stormwater into Lake Erie and the Niagara River.
— Local organizations: $151,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by 26 local organizations:
— L’association des scouts du Canada: A $25,000 grant will enable water conservation activities as part of Moot Canada 2013, a gathering of 5,000 Scouts between the ages of 18-25 from 100 countries. Partnering with ONE DROP, the activities will help the Scouts educate the public about storm sewer management and water pollution.
— Local organizations: $43,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by nine local organizations:
— Ecology Action Centre: A $70,000 grant will help the centre pilot a study to see how low-impact design methods reduce stormwater runoff, control pollutant loading and enhance groundwater infiltration.
— City of Bathurst: A $10,000 grant will help the city provide grants to low-income homeowners for decommissioning unused wells, repairing/replacing leaking septic systems or removing/replacing old metal home heating oil tanks.
— Local organizations: $26,350 in Community Action Grants will be shared by four local organizations:
CANADA / U.S.
— Gulf of Maine Association: A $100,000 grant will help the Gulf of Maine Council, in partnership with organizations in five locations around the Gulf of Maine watershed, restore urban freshwater resources at sites in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine and New Hampshire.
— Waterkeeper Alliance: A grant of $50,000 will fund a Waterkeeper Swim Guide, an innovative tool that uses social media to connect people to their waterways. The Swim Guide consolidates real-time beach water quality data, converts it into an easy-to-understand format and delivers it free to anyone with a computer or mobile device. RBC has supported the development of Waterkeeper Swim Guides in several other regions with past RBC Blue Water Project grants.
About RBC Blue Water Project The RBC Blue Water Project is a historic, wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world’s most precious natural resource: fresh water. Since 2007, RBC has pledged over $38 million to more than 650 charitable organizations worldwide that protect water, including the grants announced today, with an additional $7.8 million pledged to universities for water programs. In 2013-2014, the RBC Blue Water Project will focus on supporting initiatives that help protect water in towns, cities and urbanized areas. For further information, visit http://www.rbc.com/bluewater.